Interview with Larry Thomas, April 30, 1985

Project: American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Larry Thomas grew up in Sharpsburg, Kentucky. Thomas volunteered for the Army in March of 1968. Thomas attended basic training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and attended helicopter school after basic training. Thomas spent some time before being deployed working with a unit stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Thomas volunteered to be transferred overseas to Vietnam in the spring of 1969.

Thomas traveled to Vietnam later that year, arriving in Cam Ranh Bay in July 1969. Thomas talks about his first impressions of Vietnam and being sent to the Twenty-third (Americal) Division at Chu Lai. Thomas was a door gunner on a CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter. Thomas speaks about the lifestyle of a serviceman in Vietnam and how he felt about his work and the people he worked with.

Thomas also speaks about his first experience of live combat and being subjected to Viet Cong rocket attacks.While stationed at Chu Lai Thomas was exposed to regular rocket attacks and attempted infiltration from Viet Cong soldiers. Thomas speaks about his opinions of and interactions with the Vietnamese people and also what it was like to fight against the North Vietnamese Army as well as the Viet Cong.

Thomas discusses the state of morale in his unit and the importance of correspondence with his family and friends at home. Thomas talks about celebrating Christmas in Vietnam. Thomas also talks about the kind of drugs and alcohol use cases he saw in his unit and heard about in other units.

Thomas speaks on the use of body counts to determine a unit's effectiveness and guilty feelings about having survived the war. He also speaks about his reaction to Lieutenant Calley and the My Lai massacre and other incidents of civilian casualties.

Interview Accession

1985oh097_vvk004

Interviewee Name

Larry Thomas

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

George Herring

Interview Date

1985-04-30

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Thomas, Larry Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 30 Apr. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Thomas, L. (1985, April 30). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Thomas, Larry, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. April 30, 1985, American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7ngf0mw70r